'˜How many deaths must there be before action is taken on A19?' - MP's despair over failure to tackle '˜problem' highway

A year on - and still no action.

Tuesday, 28th August 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 30th August 2018, 7:16 pm
The A19 was closed for several hours on July 19 this year after a diesel spillage on the southbound carriageway near Durham Road following a collision.

The leader of a campaign to make the A19 safer has slammed transport chiefs after the dangers he raised 12 months have not been addressed.

Grahame Morris, Labour MP for Easington, launched calls for a safety review into the route because of the frequency of collisions and traffic jams on the section which runs through his constituency, as well as south to Hartlepool and north as far as South Tyneside.

The A19 was closed for several hours on July 19 this year after a diesel spillage on the southbound carriageway near Durham Road following a collision.

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The appeal is backed by our Safe A19 campaign, which has already been supported by more than 2,000 names.

In a video post he made last August, he underlined how it was suffering from a lack of Government investment - London was given £,1944 per person in transport cash compared to £220 in the North East, which impacts on the region’s infrastructure, jobs and economy.

Today, he has pledged to continue to hold transport ministers, their department and the Highways Agency to account and press for the investigation and funding to improve what is one of the North East’s main arterial roads.

He says he is not willing to accept that it is only driver error which leads to collisions.

Grahame Morris MP at the A19

Mr Morris said: “What I said in that video is still relevant. We’re still seeing delays collisions. The A19 remains an accident black spot.

“The Safe A19 campaign should continue until action is taken to reduce the regular accidents that cause delays and disruption for residents and businesses.

“We have a government that is clearly restricting investment in our region while billions are spent in London and the South East.

“Our community deserves better than indifference from Highways Authorities. It is reasonable to ask how many accidents and fatalities are required before the Government will take action to address this problem?”

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “This government is spending over £13 billion – more than any other in history – to transform northern transport by 2020, boosting economic growth and unlocking the incredible potential of the great towns and cities of the north.

“Although Britain has some of the safest roads in the world, we are always looking at ways to make them safer.

“We have invested hundreds of millions of pounds in upgrading roads in the north, including the A19, where we are currently improving the Testo’s and Downhill Lane Junctions. Since 2011, Highways England has delivered safety improvements at 10 sites on the A19 alone.”

The department said it has already confirmed a number of improvements for the A19, which it expects to save hundreds of lives in years to come.

It also says the North will receive more investment per person - £1,039 - than the South - £1,029 - over the years 2017/18 to 2020/21.

*Our petition can be signed via https://bit.ly/2fuEZ20.